Over the last several months I have had a number of conversations with people regarding the intersection of faith and government; specifically, our civic duty to vote. Many of these conversations have led to the same question, “what’s the point?”
Let me explain. I believe that God is sovereign over all things. When the Bible says, “He removes kings and establishes kings.” (Daniel 2:21) I don’t think the author is employing metaphor. I think he recognizes that God is in control of all human affairs. Nothing that has happened, is happening, or will happen is outside of God’s authority. The Apostle Paul would later echo this sentiment when he wrote that, “there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are instituted by God.” (Romans 13:1)
So, does your vote matter? If God is sovereign over all things and he will place whichever people he wills into each position of government, what’s the point? If God’s plan is for candidate X to win, isn’t that going to happen whether or not I vote?
The simple answer: yes. What God wills will come to pass.
However, from the beginning, God has used people to accomplish His work. Think about it. In Exodus, God used Moses to set the people free. Surely the God who could bring the kind of disaster found in Exodus 7-11 could have freed the Israelites without human involvement. Or think about the walls of Jericho. Surely God could have conquered the city without Israel’s army marching around it for a week. But in these examples and countless others, God used people to accomplish His work. So yes, your vote matters.
Further, because we have a vote to determine which individuals will (and which won’t) govern, we are, in a sense, governing. As David Platt points out in his book “Before You Vote”, “The entire idea of a representative democracy – a government of the people, by the people, and for the people – means that we are not just the governed… we are also the ‘governing.’” And for this reason, “we are accountable before God for the good of people affected by our government.”
So, again, does your vote matter?
Absolutely it does. And not just here and now. So, as a pastor, I will not advocate for any candidate or party. I will however tell you that your actions matter. God has invited His people to be a part of His sovereign plan. Will you be faithful with it?